Battle of the Gorge
|Battle of the Gorge|
|Part of the Coalition War|
The Battle of the Gorge was a battle fought between the forces of the Coalition and the Holy Orenian Empire during the war known as the Coalition War. This battle marked a clear tipping point in the war, and would mark the beginning of the end for the Fourth Incarnation of the Holy Orenian Empire.
Prior to this battle, a great deal had happened during the war. Rather than push the advantage they had on the dwarves, Emperor Philip I called his forces back from the attack on the dwarves to prepare for the ensuing march of the War Nation. Then, the Savoyard Rebellion occurred, which saw the entire contingent of Savoy abandon the royal army, though large portions of them were slain during the attack on the Palace at Johannesburg. Shortly after this, Tobias Staunton, along with his father Alexander Staunton, reemerged from hiding, rallying at the abandoned palace at Ostwick and pulling together a good deal of Courland's old allies in former Courlanders, Dreadlanders, the remaining Savoyards, and a few minor lords to his cause. All of this did a great deal to even the numbers and power possessed by the two sides, as earlier, Oren held an undeniable advantage in sheer numbers. Now with that advantage gone, the Orenian forces still marched on, meeting the Coalition forces in a gorge just outside of the Orcish hold they intended to besiege.
As the two forces marched forth, they met around dawn. The majority of each army stayed down in the bottom of the gorge, where the battle was a slugfest, with each side pouring men into the tiny gap. Up on the steep sides of the cliffs, Orenian forces took them early and launched attacked at the flanks of the Coalition army, though the Coalition army soon brought its own forces up to contest them, bringing everything to a standstill. As the day drug on, neither side seemed to gain a definitive edge. Then, behind the coalition's position, a landslide occurred. This momentarily distracted the armies, as men scattered to avoid debris falling around then, but when they engaged again, the coalition clearly took the upper hand. As evening drew near, casualties were heavy on both sides, and there were a small handful of Orenians trying to hold off the Coalition, while the bulk of what was health attempted to get out what injured men they could. As arrows rained down on them, they launched a final series of desperate assaults forwards. Initially, they saw success, picking off Coalition men who'd gotten too bold, soon they were repelled with ease and casualties continued to rack up. As night finally fell, the Coalition returned to their camp as the Orenians were forced into a retreat. The following morning, the Orenian cavalry skrimished against the Coalition members in order to buy more time for the Orenian army to escape, before pulling out themselves.
The battle was a conclusive Coalition victory. While both sides sustained heavy casualties, the biggest loss for the Orenians was a loss of equipment and veteran troops. Many of their best blades and finest armor had been lost as the Coalition overwhelmed the Orenian forces in the bottom of the gorge, along with their more experienced men. This would go on to play a major factor in the Battle of Goldfields, during which the Orenians found themselves using whatever gear they could pull together, wielded by whatever men they could find to use it.
Alongside this, came the loss of the Archduchy of Lorraine. It was rumored that the Courlanders began bargaining with John d'Amaury who was Archduke at the time. This caused Emperor Philip I to back the coup against John d'Amaury in order to seize Metz. Whether or not this was true, this move effectively turned the entire contingent of Lorraine against Oren, which helped swing the numbers in the Coalition's favor, another major factor at the Battle of Goldfields.